Sunday Mail Correspondent
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava will lead a delegation of senior Government officials and business to the inaugural Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference, which kicks off in Kigali on Monday next week.
The conference, which runs from September 27 to September 30, will offer local businesses a chance to explore investment opportunities in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr James Musoni said the expo will help build bilateral relations between the two countries.
He said businesses in Rwanda were keen to engage their counterparts from Zimbabwe.
“Already we have enquiries from companies in Rwanda who seek to partner Zimbabwean companies and some who want to import agricultural products such as soyabean,” he said.
Rwanda’s fast-growing economy offers vast opportunities for local businesses in sectors such as infrastructure development, agriculture, energy, tourism, information and communication technologies, real estate and construction.
There are also opportunities in the financial services, mining, agro-processing, education, health services, packaging, iron and steel products and poultry value chain sectors. A recent survey by ZimTrade, the country’s trade development and promotion body, concluded that there was insignificant trade between Kigali and Harare.
ZimTrade client advisor Mrs Tatenda Machirori said the survey concluded that there was need for Zimbabwean businesses to ensure the landing cost of their goods remains competitive in the Rwandan market.
“You find that it is easier for some of their surrounding countries within their regions to be able to trade in Rwanda.
“So there is a need for Zimbabwe to establish a cost-efficient route to get our products there, while maintaining competitive prices,” said Mrs Machirori.
Rwanda Private Sector Federation chairperson Mr Robert Bafakulera said Rwanda has a lot to benefit from Zimbabwe’s expertise in different sectors.
“I believe there are lots of advantages that will come with trading with Zimbabwe, especially in agriculture. We can learn from Zimbabweans as they have more experience in areas such as maize production,” he said.
“We are importing a lot of seed at the moment but we definitely need a local solution and this is where Zimbabwe comes in.”
Zimbabwe and Rwanda recently signed four Memoranda of Understanding in various sectors of the economy under the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation to foster bilateral trade relations between the two countries.
The MoUs, which were signed after the first Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation hosted by Rwanda in March this year, covered cooperation in diplomacy, trade and investment, justice, media, communication and publicity.
Registration for the conference is ongoing through RwandAir, while strict Covid-19 preventative measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of participants.
Rwanda’s economy expanded by 20,6 percent during the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, reflecting a strong rebound from a Covid-19-triggered slump. The International Monetary Fund predicts Rwanda’s economy will grow by 5,7 percent this year.